A digital thread: What it is and why you need it

Posted: January 08, 2024

Digital thread one of the latest buzzwords you’ve seen floating around. But it’s not just some meaningless marketing jargon. It expresses the simple, powerful function of what’s otherwise very complex technology.

Simply put, a digital thread is the digital flow of data and information about something, chained between several connected points and made accessible to users. Those connected points can be systems, devices, or people—but they’re all bound together by the same continuous thread of information. While the underlying technology that creates a digital thread is complicated, its function is straightforward: get the right information to the right people.

Most industrial organizations have the beginnings of a full digital thread already, even if they may not realize it. Various systems like HMI/SCADA and historians, among other tools, already help get information where it’s needed and format it in a way that’s most useful.

In the industrial process space, a digital thread often links detailed information about the process from the equipment to other areas of the operation and business. The continuity of the information means it can always be tied back to its source and the information one group accesses is the same information another group accesses. It gives everyone across the organization trust and confidence that the data they’re using to make decisions is reliable, accurate, and timely

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